Stendhal syndrome and tourism numbers

Stendhal syndrome florence

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Did you ever find yourself breathless in front of a work of art? It's called Stendhal syndrome, from the name of the French writer who first experienced this feeling of oppression before beauty, right in one of the richest cities of art in the world, our Florence.
“I had reached that level of emotion where the celestial sensations of the arts and the passionate feelings meet. Coming out of Santa Croce, I had a heartbeat, life had dried up for me, I was walking fearing to fall.”

That is how Marie-Henri Beyle, Stendhal, describes that sense of vertigo mixed with tachycardia which for the first time struck him in the famous Florentine monumental complex. Santa Croce, which the author visited in 1817 during the occasion of his Grand Tour, still preserves the remains of some of the most illustrious figures in history such as Michelangelo and Galileo. Moreover, its chapels and the extraordinary sacristy preserve works of priceless value, such as Donatello's crucifix, Della Robbia's terracottas, or the marvelous Cenacle frescoed by Taddeo Gaddi, of the Giotto school.

It is not surprising, in fact, that walking along the aisles of the basilica or lingering in the cloister, can create a sense of astonishing wonder in the spectator. However, there is nothing to fear: more than letting ourselves be surprised by temporary psychosomatic disturbances, in fact, exposure to art seems to have innumerable positive aspects from a psychological, but also physical point of view.

In fact, there are numerous studies linking art and health. Through neuroesthetics, for example, we are investigating the ways in which the different brain areas interact with each other to formulate aesthetic judgments, exploring the neural activities underlying the creative process, activities that would seem to stimulate even areas of movement, a correlation that would lead to conduct more in-depth research also on severe neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's.

Less recent, but still extremely interesting, are the studies on the benefits that the observation of works of art would bring: it is not a novelty that by letting the brain marvel at a masterpiece, releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates a good mood. The Harvard University medical school has in fact patented the "Training the eye", an interval in which doctors can concentrate and relax while contemplating a work of art: this good practice would improve the analytical skills - and therefore of diagnosis - it would alleviate the critical spirit and, no less important, it would allow us to detox from the overdose of technology to which we are subjected daily.

Those who are lucky enough to study Italian in Florence, live immersed in art and, in addition to engaging with a strategic language for the world of culture, they can enjoy the countless beneficial effects that this 24-hour exposure to beauty brings. It is no coincidence that, only in the last year, the Florentine Uffizi have exceeded 4 million visitors: 1 million more than the previous year, registering a 50% increase in collections.

Let yourselves succumb to beauty!